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Jimmy

Flash thoughts on Hexen's design

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I sometimes wish Raven had made a Doom2-equivalent sequel for Heretic (adding new weapons and enemies to fix gameplay issues) rather than making Hexen. On one hand, Hexen was more innovative than Heretic but on the other hand, it feels extremely rushed (even compared to Heretic).

 

However, despite this, I don't say that Hexen is a bad game. I actually kinda enjoy it for what it is. But at the same time, I think Hexen could have been better of by being more like Doom/Heretic, especially in the level designs and combat.

 

1 hour ago, Jimmy said:

The gameplay of Hexen, particularly with regards to combat, is slow and clunky compared to Heretic. Everything feels overspecialised 

 

100% Agreed. I actually think that Hexen's bestiary is atleast on par with Heretic's. But its is underutilized in Hexen. Wendigos are almost never used after Hub 1. Dark Bishop are only encountered from Hub 3 onwards. Reivers are only used in Hub 5. Stalkers are swamps only enemy. Death Wyvern is only encountered once.

 

Bosses are also dissapointing. Heresiarchs are annoying because of their shields. And Korax is a joke. D'Sparil shits all over him. Korax has a extremely high pain chance. So much that I once remember stunlocking him with Mage's starting weapon (pew pew gun) and managed to kill him before Korax could retreat to the second room and hence me getting stuck in the first room.

 

And its a shame. Heretic's combat feels weaker than doom to me. But compared to Hexen, even Heretic's combat feels rock solid.

 

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1 hour ago, ReaperAA said:

I sometimes wish Raven had made a Doom2-equivalent sequel for Heretic (adding new weapons and enemies to fix gameplay issues) rather than making Hexen. On one hand, Hexen was more innovative than Heretic but on the other hand, it feels extremely rushed (even compared to Heretic).

 

I'm kind of the other way around. The main problem I had with Heretic was just how much it felt like a Doom clone to me instead of being its own thing, so much that I dropped the game halfway through, I couldn't get much out from it.

 

Then I jumped to Hexen and well, I didn't finish it either, dropping it somewhere after the swamp portion. But from what I played until that point, the annoying clone vibe Heretic gave me was completely absent. It had charm, focus, and the changes made to the gameplay and mechanics were more than welcome, giving it an actual identity as opposed to trying to be a Doom reskin with a medieval setting (didn't seemed rushed either). Then again, I don't (and can't) have a complete opinion on the game since I never finished it, but I'm planning on doing just that soon (once a new version of GZDoom comes out... ). After being pleasantly surprised with just how patient I was with a puzzle-oriented Doom megawad recently, I think I'm ready for Hexen. The first time I got so tired of its progression since I had no idea what to expect that I simply gave up, this time I won't.

 

I'm actually really looking forward to playing Hexen and finishing it this time. Perhaps I'm going to give Heretic a second try after that too.

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Do yourself a favor and do hexen on difficulty 1 or 2. There is absolutely no challenge in the game at any difficulty and all you'll be getting in skill 4 and 5 are more annoying monsters to grind down. The players are supremely overpowered and no monster stands a chance since everything that might look deadly actually deals almost no damage (bishops hitting for 1 damage, heresiarch dealing almost none because players have 75% aoe resist). 

 

There are are enough Kraters of might to never run out of ammo unless you hoard them for the dangerous fights that are never going to come. enough quartz flasks to shrug everything and enough discs of repulsion to kill everything. Heretic on the other hand feels much better on skill 5 (Which is basically the same difficulty as doom 2 on UV, aside from E3M1 which is going to be harder than E4M1 this time around)

 

P.S. Centaurs are way less annoying if you use flechettes to kill them whenever they start blocking, well not as cleric because that's even more annoying than killing them with the shitty mace.

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4 hours ago, Jimmy said:

The gameplay of Hexen, particularly with regards to combat, is slow and clunky compared to Heretic. Everything feels overspecialised - some enemy types are only used in a couple of levels (Wendigos and Reivers). You're only given four distinct weapons in the game, with a pitiful two ammo types to swap between. Monsters are seemingly all low-mid-tier. There's no "fodder" enemies aside from perhaps the Afrit, and the strongest non-boss enemy you encounter is of all things the Slaughtaur, which matches with the Chaos Serpent in terms of HP but is obviously harder to kill. There is therefore absolutely minimal rise and fall in terms of combat intensity. It gets dull really fast. Where are the iron liches? The (unfriendly) maulotaurs? The boss monsters are all just pretty weird and purely in their own ballpark. The Wyvern doesn't even move the same way as any other monster.

 I disagree with this. Heretic's weapons largely feel underpowered & unsatisfying compared to Hexen's (at least the fighter's armory). Eg. it takes forever to kill a Disciple with your crossbow (or most other weapons), but it takes just one hammer to kill a Bishop. And of course the wand is absolute shit compared to the fists.

 

I think it's good that the bosses are "weird", it makes them more memorable than a "shoot at it until it dies" type boss. The gimmick of the Wyvern is that you have to grab the wings to be able to fight it properly.

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Here's a brief review of each map/hub/whateves for heXen:

 

Winnowing Hall:

 *WINNOWR Intensifies* 10/10

 

Seven Portals:

 

HUB - The hub itself is fairly easy to navigate, not overly harsh and in general is a pleasant map to run around in and have fun. No real complaints here. 9/10

 

GUARDIAN OF ICE - *Insert me dying to Wendigo's* 5/10

 

GUARDIAN OF FIRE - Surprisingly simple and again, not too challenging. A good little opener to introduce jumping puzzles. 6/10

 

GUARDIAN OF STEEL - It took me YEARS to understand how this thing worked. Seriously, this is one of the WORST designed puzzles... and it's only in hub one! Hoo boy! 2/10

 

BRIGHT CRUCIBLE - Painful, confusing, hard. Definitely one of the worst desgined heXen maps. 1/10

 

Shadow Wood:

 

HUB - Ehh. Kinda confusing, not the most visually pleasing but not exactly awful. Ca't praise it nor hate it. 5/10

 

WASTELANDS - Long arse tunnels, very little visual cues on where to go, lots of serpents, and to top it all off you come here quite often. Whilst I do like the design of the tunnels, they get VERY repetitive. 4/10

 

DARKMERE - The main part of this map is just swamp which, whilst nice, introduces the swamp enemy thing which is kind a pain in the bum to kill. Again, nothing to hate here but I DO love the fog. Also that castle bit later on is quite good. 7/10

 

CAVES OF CIRCE - To be honest, this map really isn't all to bad. Apart from the platinum helmet trap at the end (which I have NO idea how you're meant to grab it without dying) I personally don't mind this map. Sure it's a little hard to navigate but it's quite fun. 6/10

 

HYPOSTLE - A series of puzzles. None of them are even hard, msot require you to simply slaughter all the enemies in a room and then oh hey look, a switch. Not really hard... with the exception of puzzle 3. Tight room with multiple centaurs and crushers. JOY. 3/10

 

SACRED GROVE - So let me get this straight, you just kill 8 ettins? All right! *kills them all* *floor lowers to a switch* *presses switch* "a door opened on the Forsaken Outpost". Ya foken wot m8. Yer 'Avin a laff? - 1/10. Would've been 0 if it weren't for the free mystic urns.

 

Heresiarch's Seminary:

 

HUB - A nice attempt at a castle-y sort of map that trips and falls over onto it's own face. If you thought guardian of steel was confusing, this hub gives almost NO visual cue what-so ever! Seriously, I get twisted, turned and lost here far too often, even WITH The automap! Not to mention this is when the game starts to spam dark mages everywhere like they're an imp in doom and totally not like a caodemon with the speed of a pinky. 2/10

 

SILENT REFACTORY - So I hEaRd YoU lIkEd DaRk MaGeS!!! Seriously cut down the the dark mage spam broo. Aslo this map BARELY features any unique lighting or really anything dynamic visually, even GZDooM's dynamic lighting effect on projectiles don't add much more to this map. 0/10

 

ORCHARD OF LAMENTATIONS - This map exists I guess. Not super memorable either but visually it's fairly good. 7/10

 

and now a word from our animal sponsors

 

DRAGON CHAPEL - Complex, confusing yet very fun to go through. Definitely a nice breather from the previous maps. 8/10

 

GRIFFIN CHAPEL - This would be fairly mediocre if it wasn't for the crushing walls room. Seriously, that room is a pain in the arse to solve, mostly due to the fact it as hard to tell where the walls would move and when they would move. And you can't just stop and wait for them to go, you will get crushed. 2/10

 

WOLF CHAPEL - A fairly okay map. Fairly grey in it's colour scheme but that's made up for some really nice visuals. My biggest complaint? So I hEaRd YoU lIkEd CeNtAuRs AnD sLaUgHtErErS!!! 5/10

 

DEATHWIND CHAPEL - No idea how you're meant to get to this but honestly, this map is forgetful. That doesn't mean it's bad, it's just forgetful. The map does offer some nice challenges here and there but nothing here stood out. Apart from the spinning pillars. 4/10

 

 Castle of Grief:

 

HUB - This is where heXen takes a high dive from a broken platform into a pit of sewage and used needles. No really, talk about RELENTLESS DIFFICULTY. This hub even of medium is brutally hard. Don't expect this to change also as this contains some of the most CONFUSING puzzles ever! Where chapter 3 was too linear, chapter 4 was too non-linear. No cues at all and barely any hints on where to go. I had to noclip through this map when I did is as all 3 classes just due to the absurd amount of switches and puzzles. This map can die painfully for all I care. 0/10

 

FORSAKEN OUTPOST - Did you know that the rusted key was on this map? Did you know it blends in so well it might as well be called the chameleon key? Outside of that quirk, this map is again bland and boring. (Noticing a pattern here?) But at least this time we gots jumping puzzles! ooooo! pointless!

 

DUNGEONS - Gray. Just gray. every wall is gray, most of the floor is gray, most of the ceiling is gray. Not to mention there's a switch you need to press like 8 times before it stops working. That is just dumb. Another poorly designed map with a horrible exit design. 2/10

 

ELFLUVIUM - Wet, m o i s t, damp and smelly. What a sewage area would be like (obviously). Visually this map is grim but nice. A fairly fun map that isn't too poorly designed but not exactly chart-topping. 7/10

 

GIBBET - Oh god. If you want to know  what poor level design is, look no further than this turd. Where the main HUB area is difficult, this literally is broken. OP mentioned if you kill the chaos serpents too fast, the rest of the script fails. He wasn't joking. This map literally is unplayable if the chaos serpents near the end don't co-operate properly. Outside of that this map is littered with traps that are unfair and a lot of enemy spam. 0/10 Would die again.

 

DESOLATE GARDENS - And the award for the most pointless map goes to... this one I guess... Only good thing is this map has all of the weapons here in one neat package so if you're missing a weapon piece (which would be impressive if you've missed ALL THREE) then this map rewards you all of them. 3/10

 

NECROPOLIS

 

HUB - REIVERS! GET YER REIVERS 'ERE!!!! They suck your health and they go "BLERRRRGH" and they fly... oh yeah and they have no legs *cue x-files theme*

5/10

 

ZEDEK, MELKINIR AND THE OTHER GUY'S TOMBIES - Oh hey look, it's the other classes I didn't choose! And they're all brain-dead easy! (With the exception of Traductus who is just ancerous if you don't have any discs of repulsion or icon of defenders). 1/10

 

DARK CRUICIBLE - Korax the borax. The big grey ghosty thing with 4 arms, 2 legs and no willy. Just weaken him enough so he can teleport, kill the 2 waves of enemies, shove your 4th slot weapon into him and drink a cup of water in celebration of his death. Simple, boring and really easy, Korax is just boring. Though the wibbly-wobbly bridge effect is really interesting (anone know how it's done? I wanna know :3) 3/10

 

Overall I just feel like HeXeN was biased towards the cleric and Mage far more than the fighter.

 

Cleric with the serpent staff's heal drain + quartz flasks + Mystic Urn + The scroll = HP spam

 

Mage's scroll gives him mana and he starts off with a ranged attack as-is so he's somwhat advantaged there as well.

 

All fighter has is his axe of 2-hit wonders.

 

 

My overall score?

 

4/10. Winnowing hall gave it that 1 extra point :)

 

 

 

 

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even though I quite enjoy Hexen, I honestly do feel a lot of Jimmy's gripes here. There's just no denying that the game isn't that interesting when you have basically all your weapons by the third hub or so, and there's only four of them in the first place, and when most of those weapons are pretty lacklustre unless you're the fighter. Heck, even with the fighter, when I was playing co-op with someone a while back, I found I never ran out of mana because even the weak as hell melee smacks from the hammer were more than enough damage to kill anything (fists have higher DPS, but hammer has a satisfying smack to it).

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ReaperAA said:

Oh hell yes, the first release with Vulkan renderer.

 

So AMD users in particular can finally get a more enjoyable experience. And I can use GZDoom without having to worry about having my gamma messed up upon closing the game now, yay.

 

But judging by what Graf is saying, it's not stable yet and prone to crashes.

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, seed said:

But judging by what Graf is saying, it's not stable yet and prone to crashes.

 

I just tried it now. Its still in a alpha state. Right now it still has performance and rendering issues in maps with 3d models.

 

But I am very excited. My AMD GPU (which is 25% more powerful that my iGPU in raw performance) ran like a snail on the OpenGL renderer. It was much much worse than my iGPU.

 

But right now, AMD GPU with Vulkan renderer gives roughly same performance as the iGPU with OpenGL renderer (excluding maps with 3d models). And hopefully the performance would further improve when the vulkan renderer becomes mature and bugs are fixed.

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5 hours ago, DynamiteKaitorn said:

GUARDIAN OF STEEL - It took me YEARS to understand how this thing worked. Seriously, this is one of the WORST designed puzzles... and it's only in hub one! Hoo boy! 2/10

 

Seriously, this puzzle isn't THAT hard to understand. It's two switches controlling two doorways. It's not well-designed by any means, but the comments in this thread make it seem like it's some mindfuck jigsaw contraption.

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Posted (edited)

I found Hexen to be a lot more confusing than Heretic (although i've only played through Hexen once and it was like 4-5 years ago in a fairly casual play-through). I got lost plenty of times to the point that i think i had to look up how to finish levels eventually. I've been meaning to play through it again but i just haven't really felt like it. 

 

I personally enjoyed Heretic a lot more. It does help that Heretic's weapons were sort of like "Doom's" in a sense, just fantasy weapon replacements basically. Each one was reminiscent of a weapon from Doom. I don't really remember much about Hexen's arsenal though so maybe it was the same way? But i agree, the level design in Heretic was more straight forward, in a sense. You didn't have to be inside the head of the level designers to actually figure them out (or play them 1000 times before you remember).

 

BTW, i usually suck at puzzles so that's probably why i was fairly bad at Hexen as from what i recall that one had a lot more.

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25 minutes ago, CyberDreams said:

BTW, i usually suck at puzzles so that's probably why i was fairly bad at Hexen as from what i recall that one had a lot more.

 

Me too, and yes it does. Hexen is far more puzzle centric than Heretic, which made me stop playing the game early on. You really need to take your time with this kind of games from my experience, otherwise you won't be able to get much out from them and drop them almost immediately.

 

27 minutes ago, CyberDreams said:

It does help that Heretic's weapons were sort of like "Doom's" in a sense, just fantasy weapon replacements basically. Each one was reminiscent of a weapon from Doom. I don't really remember much about Hexen's arsenal though so maybe it was the same way? But i agree, the level design in Heretic was more straight forward, in a sense. You didn't have to be inside the head of the level designers to actually figure them out (or play them 1000 times before you remember).

 

That's actually exactly what bothered me in Heretic. It gave me the impression of a simple Doom clone with a fantasy theme, probably because I jumped in expecting the game to be different from what I imaged, but it played way too similar. Hexen on the other hand was much more unique and charming.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, whirledtsar said:

I disagree with this. Heretic's weapons largely feel underpowered & unsatisfying compared to Hexen's (at least the fighter's armory). Eg. it takes forever to kill a Disciple with your crossbow (or most other weapons), but it takes just one hammer to kill a Bishop. And of course the wand is absolute shit compared to the fists.

 

To be honest, the Disciples in Heretic are a mid tier enemy (they are comparable to Doom's cacodemons). So it makes sense that they require a few shots to die. Whereas the dark bishops are low-ish tier enemy. 

 

If u want to compare Disciples with Dark Bishops. Then I can also compare sabreclaws with centaurs. Sabreclaws die much much more quickly then centaurs. Centaurs take ages to die due to their annoying shields.

 

Also u r only taking about Fighter's weapons. Cleric's and Mage's weapons are less meaty and their starting weapons take 6-8 shots to kill ettins (the most basic and most common enemy in hexen). And then there is tomb of power in Heretic to make weapons more powerful.

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Disciples have more hp, invincibility frames, extremely high damage and lower pain chance. The only thing going on for the bishop is their dash speed; Otherwise they have less damage (seriously their attack can't even harm an armored mage), almost NO normal movement speed, pretty much 100% pain chance and the tendency to get stuck in place spamming dashes. Afrits are more threatening than the bishops and that says something lol.

 

Both cleric and mage have powerful weapons; Arc of Death deals triple damage to centaurs which pretty much instakills them. Cleric has the serpent staff with nice dps but it has one major weakness and it is the existance of the fucking centaurs everywhere... good job making it almost unusable devs! Then you get firestorm which does less damage but at least it isn't reflected! 

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To get on the point of this topic...

 

Heretic bored me, but I loved Hexen. That said, Hexen does definitely have some flaws.

 

My exposure to it was via the PS1 port, which (unlike Doom) was the most yecch console port of it. Also took up nearly a full memory card for a save!

 

But I found its atmosphere great. Darkmere is one of my favorite levels; Jimmy and I are in agreement there. The Heresiarch is indeed bullshit, as well. And of course, we have lots to be thankful for via the invention of ACS (and a few things to regret from said invention, as well).

 

It kind of always seemed to me like Hexen was a game where it'd be more useful as a glorified resource pack. I sometimes can't help but wonder what a community Hexen project would look like, but the interest for it simply isn't there I think.

 

Still, I do think it's a game most people should at least try. Hardly perfect, but it's also hard to call the game objectively bad. And nobody can deny that it blazed some trails, either.

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One of the things I've been feeling for a while about Hexen is that a lot of its apparent diversity of classes, weapons, and enemies is in fact an illusion.  Three classes with a total of twelve different weapons!  But pacing concerns and gameplay limitations compel all four classes to play reasonably similarly; the most significant differentiation between the classes is that the Fighter doesn't get access to a ranged weapon (barring the grenade-like behaviour of his flechettes) until he gets his third weapon on Hub 2, vs. the Cleric and Mage both getting a ranged weapon early in Hub 1, and all that really does is constraint the Hub 1 encounter design within a paradigm of "every fight here has to be a melee-capable fight."  And that's not a particular egregious limitation considering that the grunt Ettins and slightly-more-than-grunt Centaurs are melee-only enemies.

 

Outside of the restricted-to-a-handful-of-maps Reivers and Wendigos I feel that the problem with the enemies and other gameplay elements is the opposite of overspecialisation - all the enemies feel like they're bunched together into a very narrow slice of the total possible spectrum of toughness and damage output, and so the weapons feel like incremental progressions up the damage-per-second scale rather than Doom's tactically varied "shotgun for this, plasma gun for that, rocket launcher in this other type of encounter," differentiation of weapons, enemy types, and encounter setups.  Weapons, characters, and enemies feel close enough in behaviour as to be largely interchangeable.

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1 hour ago, Pegg said:

Disciples have more hp, invincibility frames, extremely high damage and lower pain chance. The only thing going on for the bishop is their dash speed; Otherwise they have less damage (seriously their attack can't even harm an armored mage)

 

 

Everything you've said in this thread about enemy damage is only true at the lower difficulty settings.

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13 hours ago, SOSU said:

No Deathkings review :'(

 

Next.

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Good luck with that incredibly tedious grindfest, Sump and Ordeal still trigger me to this day...

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Caffeine Freak said:

 

 

Everything you've said in this thread about enemy damage is only true at the lower difficulty settings.

 

No they are weak even on skill 5. The game has many monsters with good damage like slaughtaurs, chaos serpents, wyvern, korax and wendigos who boast almost no time before firing which makes a certain fight especially annoying. Meanwhile afrits and bishops hit for very weak damage and the heresiarch won't be killing anyone any time soon with his purple stream unless they are in melee after that huge windup and take it all to their face.. that attack doesn't even aim correctly and just hits the floor infront of the heresiarch, triggering the mentioned 75% player resistance to splash damage, not even including armor which makes it close to 90% resist.

 

Of course I didn't mention Wraiths and player bosses because those have amazing damage but wraiths are way too rare to consider about the original mapset. I still stand by my advice not to play hexen on skill 4\5. Ruins the pace completely.

Edited by Pegg

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Offtopic, but does anyone know how to stop the monster respawning in Hexen (when playing in gzdoom). The constant spawning was really annoying in Deathkings.

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1 minute ago, ReaperAA said:

Offtopic, but does anyone know how to stop the monster respawning in Hexen (when playing in gzdoom). The constant spawning was really annoying in Deathkings.

They're part of the map scripts, so in short, unless you want to play a modified WAD, there is no way.

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3 minutes ago, Dark Pulse said:

They're part of the map scripts, so in short, unless you want to play a modified WAD, there is no way.

 

A shame. I hated some of the maps in Deathkings because of this. *Cough* Sump *Cough*

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if you're playing gzdoom, try the console command

special 82 255

This calls ACS_Terminate on script 255 (usually the respawn script)

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Posted (edited)

lol guardian of steel sucks

 

Why does Hexen even have so many damn hubs anyways? 

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1 hour ago, Marn said:

lol guardian of steel sucks

 

Why does Hexen even have so many damn hubs anyways? 

Because it wasn't an interconnected world without them. 

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